A Press conference was held on Thursday, June 11, 2015 by the three prominent trade bodies of the Bangladesh ICT sector – Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS) and Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB). The joint press conference was held at the BASIS head office.
The press conference was headed by BASIS President, Mr. Shameem Ahsan, BCS President Mr. A.H.M. Mahfuzul Arif and ISPAB President M.A. Hakim. Present also at the press conference were executive committee members of BASIS, BCI and ISPAB.
BASIS President Mr. Shameem Ahsan remarked that every year before the budget is passed, a large number of recommendations are given on behalf of the ICT industry. This year also many recommendations were given by BASIS, ISPAB and BCS to the honorable Finance Minister and the NBR Chairman. IT and IT enabled services are income tax exempt till 2024. It will take 3-5 years for the usage of E commerce to become more widely accepted throughout Bangladesh and a number of proposals have been made. However, many of our recommendations have been rejected.A 4% tax has been imposed on the E commerce industry. We believe that this will seriously restrict the growth of the e commerce sector. We hope that the honorable Finance Minister will consider this in the final budget.
BCS President A.H.M. Mahfuzul Arif said the hardware sector and IT infrastructure has been neglected in the budget. However, we know that without hardware and IT infrastructure, the development of ICT sector is impossible.
For example Multi printer has had a 5% reduction whereas computers or cameras used for ICT purposes and mobile power banks have had a reduction of 15% in import duty. Whereas toner cartridges of multi-functional printers, HDMI/DVI enabled monitors, Digital education tools and network devices etc. are all under heavy tax.
ISPAB president M.A. Hakim said, in this proposed budget, the recommendations of ISPAB have been ignored the most. Aside from the lowering of prices of Computer, Network equipment and fiber optic cables, the other recommendations we have made have not been considered. The 15% VAT imposed on internet usage will hinder the growth of the nation’s ICT sector. The 5% tax imposed upon all mobile phone costs will discourage internet users. So there will be a problem for businesses dependent on the internet. So for this reason we implore the Finance Minister to reconsider levying VAT and tax on internet usage.